Tools of the Trade: March 2019

By Michael Castelluccio
March 1, 2019


1. SONY RX100 VI


The Sony RX100 VI is a premium Cyber-shot compact camera, which now has a wider zoom range and Bluetooth connectivity. The new Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lens has an 8X zoom range of 24mm-200mm and superior optics with 15 elements in 12 groups. The advanced image stabilization enables high-quality images even at the far ranges of the zoom and in low light. The autofocus is the fastest in its class at 0.03 seconds. The continuous shooting feature can capture up to 24 frames per second. The CMOS sensor is 1″, producing 20MP images. The 3″ viewing screen can tilt 180 degrees for selfies and by as much as 90 degrees downward for product shots below you, and it’s now touch-sensitive. The camera collects about 1.7 times the information needed for basic 4K movie output, and this oversampling provides excellent resolution with reduced unwanted artifacts. Slow-motion video can reach up to 40X slower than live-action even at the 200mm zoom range. Also new is a touch shutter, which takes photos or video with a touch on the LCD monitor, and there’s a retractable Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder for framing and previewing shots. www.sony.com





First released by Sun Microsystems as OpenOffice almost 20 years ago, LibreOffice is a free office suite that has a worldwide user base and is continually updated with new releases every six months thanks to hundreds of contributors. The open-source programs that make up the suite include Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing). LibreOffice documents are compatible with many formats, including Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), Excel (.xls, .xlsx), PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx), and Publisher. There’s also native support for the open standard (ODF) Open Document Format, and you can export in a number of formats, including PDF. www.libreoffice.org





OCR (optical character recognition) will convert typed, handwritten, or printed text, or text in photographs, into machine-coded electronic text that can be easily edited, indexed to be searched, shared, or even read aloud back to you. The Omnipage Ultimate program does much more. It can convert paper and PDF files into 30 different file formats. Its PDF Create tool lets you create PDF files from any PC applications, and the smaller PDFs have password security, 256-bit encryption, batch conversion, and more. The PDFs are searchable and support MP3 audio playback so you can listen to them on your iPhone, iPad, Android, or other mobile devices. There’s even output to standard ePub formats for eBook readers and apps. It has native Evernote and Dropbox integration and access to a number of cloud services. www.nuance.com



The Wemo Mini Smart Plug is one of the simplest ways to add remote control to your plug-in appliances and devices. You plug the Wemo into your outlet and download the free app on your phone or tablet, and through your home Wi-Fi you can send on/off commands to lamps, fans, a coffeemaker, or whatever devices you have plugged in. It can also provide hands-free operation with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. There’s an “Away Mode” that’s smarter than a mechanical timer. It turns lights on and off randomly to create the impression the residents are at home. The Wemo is slim enough to allow stacking two in one double outlet. www.belkin.com/us/c/smarthome-iot



Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 24 years. His SF TECHNOTES blog is in its 21st year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.

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